Solvang’s City Council voted 3-1 at a Special Session meeting to terminate with prejudice Joan Jamieson from the advisory Board of Architectural Review.
In a Special Meeting, Mayor Ryan Toussaint launched a blistering indictment of Ms. Jamieson, starting with the clear Brown Act violation followed by a long list of highly questionable conduct and conflicts of interest while Ms. Jamieson served as BAR appointee and as a former Councilmember from 2008-2018. The entire event can be seen on YouTube video.
The Council voted 3-1 to terminate Council member Robert Clarke recused himself as Ms. Jamieson’s husband had more than $14,000 in a past-due, delinquent debt owed to Nielsen’s Lumber Yard.
Ms. Jamieson, was appointed to the BAR as a gesture of good will by the slimmest of margin after her stinging defeat in the 2018 election. However, she immediately abused her position to ridicule the Council’s new vision for change and instead pushed fellow BAR members to adopt her personal interpretations of architectural policy and vision for the BAR. The troubling email concludes by openly questioning the Council’s ethics and standards. She was a frequent critic of the Council Majority and was organizing the BAR to block the Council’s attempts to reorganize the personnel and systemic failures at the BAR and Planning Department.
The BAR was established by Resolution in August 1993 and references the Municipal Code section 14.11.140, which does not exist and therefore lacks a legal basis. Despite multiple references in related policies such as the Design Elements and Signage, the Resolution lacks specified Duties, Responsibilities and Enforcement policies. Over the years, the lack of clarity has led to questionable interpretations, fines, biased decisions, and open abuse of power at the Planning Department.
That all ended with the 2018 election of the current City Council. The Council is making wide ranging changes to City policy and personnel at the Planning Department to end a decade of prejudicial “relationship based” permitting and favoritism. Simply put, Mayor Toussaint gave proof that the previous City Managers and past Councils (that included Ms. Jamieson) had openly weaponized the Planning Department and permitting processes, clearly violating the Fair Practices Political Commission.
During city coucil’s public comment, Joan Jamieson’s ex husband attorney Peter Laird stood up to defend his ex wife Joan Jamieson that she didn’t attempt to influence the other bar members.
Also Solvang businessman Kenny “Esko” Lama stood up and accused Jamieson of being racist towards him and using her BAR position trying to influence his landlord to evict him from his business location.
Esko Kenny Lama said :
I am very sad and mad because my 75 year-old landlord was bullied by Joan Jamieson. She was trying to influence and convince my landlord with her sick and racist opinions to evict me. I never missed my rents, but Joan Jamieson was telling to my landlord as BAR member that I am not good tenant, and I don’t respect the city law and I don’t belong to this community because also my ethnic background.”
“I urge City Council to be united tonight and remove this racist person from BAR and give strong message to our community that will never be allowed these kind of people to become public official.”
“Joan Jamison who are you? Are you the one can tell and decide who can live and do business in this town? Stop dividing our community and people. If Joan Jamison continues behave like this I will also exercise my legal rights to stop her spreading rumors and lies and racist comments about me. Joan Jamison shame on you!”
In weak defense, Ms. Jamieson bizarrely claimed she did not know Mr. Lama’s landlord . (However ,Esko Kenny Lama’s landlord confirmed her conversation with Joan Jamieson and she confirmed that they have known each other for a along time )
When the discussion came back to Council, Mayor Toussaint presented multiple reasons for placing the item on the agenda, indicating a pattern of public corruption well beyond the original email Brown Act violation. For example, he provided evidence of her participation as the only public member of the audience at the meeting (July 10th 2019) of the now defunct, scandal ridden and wholly discredited Solvang Conference and Visitors Bureau (SCVB). The July meeting was itself a Brown Act Violation, a violation of the SCVB’s contract with the City, and illustrates
Mayor Toussaint said he was greatly troubled that Ms. Jamieson, a City public official was present for the secretive SCVB meeting at the Delphin Huset (Dolphin House) even as the Council was negotiating in good faith to recover assets from the SCVB. “That was not a legal meeting, and … no public person I was aware of knew about it,” Toussaint said.The meeting resulted in a plan to defraud the City of more than $250,000 in financial, corporate, digital and hard assets.
Mayor Toussaint referred to the minutes of the Council’s meeting on Aug. 28, 2017, in which he showed Ms. Jamieson had lobbied Council members to buy a worthless property from former Councilmember Ed Skytt for more than $250,000. At that time, Mr. Toussaint blocked Ms. Jamieson’s ploy citing it as a clear FPPC violation, which would have led to a second and more serious violation for Mr. Skytt. The Agenda item was withdrawn and Mr. Toussaint has provided the Solvang Journal with evidence that in May 2019, a third attempt was made without Council knowledge or approval by former City Staff: City Manager Dave Gassaway, City Attorney Dave Fleishman, Planning Director Holly Owen and City Clerk Lisa Martin.
A visibly hostile Ms. Jamieson cursed at the Council majority and announced from the audience that she was resigning and walked out. Notably, former Council member Ed Skytt, former board member of the SCVB Dave Rasmussen and Tracy Beard, Executive Director of the Solvang Chamber of Commerce joined the hostile attack on the Council.
Unable to voice his fact based opinion, Council member Chris Djernaes, himself a perennial victim of Ms. Jamieson’s political attacks, joined the majority in voting “Yes, with prejudice,” which in legal parlance means case dismissed permanently and without recourse.
Council member Karen Waite dissented and presented an emotional and personal defense Ms. Jamieson. Citing Ms. Jamieson’s years of service she openly accused Mayor Toussaint of a personal vendetta and ignoring the entire body of evidence that demonstrate a pattern arrogant misconduct, abuse of power and hostility to the current Council majority.
Mayor Toussaint amended his motion to accept Ms. Jamieson’s resignation and moved to terminate her from the BAR. Council member Daniel Johnson rejected the amended motion and moved instead to terminate, citing Ms. Jamieson’s pattern of unacceptable conduct.